Andy Paling

Schools celebrate eco-school status

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School has undertaken environmental initiatives for a number of years but now they are being recognized for it.

The Catholic secondary school has been awarded gold status and teacher Andy Paling said this is the first time they have put in for any sort of designation. Villanova has been performing a number of environmentally-friendly activities for years, he stated, and that is the reason they achieved gold so early in the designation process.

Anderdon Public School’s eco-team helped earn their school platinum status.

Among the projects undertaken at Villanova have been recycling, composting, creation and maintenance of a butterfly garden, a number of tree plantings, maintenance of a trail around their County Road 8 property. They also have an “eagle’s nest” program where Paling said they can view a nest on a neighbouring property through a telescope.

“It’s bringing awareness of what is going on around us,” said Paling.

Anderdon Public School achieved platinum status again this year. Their eco-team performed many different activities with Harrison Kulic explaining one of those was a “boomerang lunch” where garbage is brought home so parents can see how much trash is created.

Anderdon encourages re-usable containers with Claire Brown stating they do garbage audits and have litter-less lunches as well. Sofia Kulic said such things as plastic straws and bags were banned on eco-day with Ava Soucie stating there have also been “lights out lunches” as well where the lights were turned off to save on utilities.

Other projects have included trying to attract bees, recycle batteries and working with a Harrow church to turn milk bags into blankets for those in third world countries. They also compost and do a variety of other environmentally-themed activities.

St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School earned gold status the first time they entered as an eco-school.

Teacher and eco-team supervisor Jodi Nolin said they have diverted probably in the neighbourhood of 10,000 milk bags from the landfill over the years.

Nolin added that Anderdon Public School welcomes community groups and parents to help them with projects.

Amherstburg Public School also achieved a gold eco-schools status for the most recent school year as did St. Joseph School in River Canard. Stella Maris School earned a silver designation.

Villanova marks major milestone with 100,000th canned good collected

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The generosity of the St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School students was on display again last Wednesday.

The Catholic high school collected its 100,000th canned good with teacher Andy Paling stating it is likely they have gone past that milestone. It started small and has blossomed into “Food Bank Friday” fundraisers with various classes within the school participating.

“This program has been going on for about six years now,” Paling stated. “It’s evolved a bit to where we team up with other fundraisers.”

Villanova assists eight local food banks in the area, with the Sandwich Towne Food Bank getting a hand last week. Paling said last week’s fundraiser saw about 2,500 canned goods and non-perishable items brought in. Students took many of the cans and spelled out “100,000” on the floor in the school’s main foyer.

Students from St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School stand with the latest collection of cans the school gathered for charity, The Catholic high school celebrated the fact they now have surpassed 100,000 canned goods collected.

“I try to involve different classes,” noted Paling, as opposed to one class or group concentrating on the efforts. “We try to include as many classes as possible to get involved.”

Paling added his daughter Ashley helped create Food Bank Friday as she pointed out there is always a need. When she graduated, Paling assumed oversight of the fundraisers.

The Windsor Port Authority helps out with the Sandwich Towne Food Bank and Christina Pare from the Port Authority was impressed with the efforts of the Villanova staff and students.

“It’s great,” she said. “We’ve partnered with Villanova for a couple of years now.”

Pare said that it is unfortunate that the need is still there, but she said the Port Authority was encouraged to see the support of such schools as St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School.